Sam had his New Horizons board meeting tonight. That means he leaves at 5:20 and doesn't get back until after the children have all gone to bed.
Right before he left, he helped me bring the kids inside. We had been in the yard so that everyone could file down their teeth on the rocks in the pea gravel pit. There's nothing like the sound of your kids' teeth on rocks. I always look to Manny for support in these situations, but he's doing it right along with the girls. Though, to his credit, he did take his rock out of his mouth long enough to walk over to Glory and reprimand her for gnawing on hers.
As soon as Sam left, I started on dinner. Manny wanted to hear his "Jenny" song so I reluctantly turned it on and he began his special dance. He was forced to stop many times because there were serious traffic jams with Glory, Elena, and I plus all the toys. He also paused to lean. He loves to stand next to the girls and lean on them until they are completely flattened on the floor. It is slow and stealthy and incredibly deliberate. If I see it, I am always in the background, trying to repeat in an escalatingly calm and wise voice, "Give her space. Give her SPACE!"
By the time I had the salmon and the fried rice in their respective pans, all three children were hanging on my pants and crying. You would think they would want me to prepare their food. But something about the image of me and a wooden spoon at the hot stove drives them nuts and they lose all ability to cope with waiting and with each other. It is these moments that I try to use all my theatrical training to ground myself, breathe deeply and control the motion of the wooden spoon as not to cause anyone to have a permanent scar from a flying piece of searingly hot egg yolk. (I can't wait until the girls can eat egg white.)
Everyone ate well and Manny got the special treat of Rhubarb Crisp with Hazelnuts. Have I mentioned how much I love my friend Sarah's food blog www.inpraiseofleftovers.com? Delicious.
I gave Manny his dessert in a mug and somehow it flew off the table and shattered all over the floor which caused the tears to spring forth from Manny's ducts like a golf course sprinkler system. He was screaming so loud that he could not hear me reassuring him that more dessert was on the way. After he was served the second time, I began to clean up, which included hauling out the vacuum hose, plugging it into the wall and sucking up all the tiny shards of mug.
I turned off the vacuum, looked over at the girls, and marveled at how their entire bodies were covered in rice, salmon flakes and strawberry bits. I could not resist. I turned the vacuum on them. I vacuumed their arms, their legs, their middles, under their thighs, and even Glory's fingers. It worked so well I may have to pull it out every night.
In the girls' bedroom, I had to tackle each baby a dozen times to get their diapers changed and their pajamas on. Their bodies were covered in dust from the gravel pit, but I can't bathe them alone, and I just wasn't in a position to get washcloths and there were poops and remnants of poops and Manny was building a sculpture out of everything in the room, so I resorted to using wipe after wipe after wipe. Then came the eco-guilt. Sorry God. Sorry Al Gore. Sorry great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren. Sorry. Sorry. SORRY. Then I spotted more rice and salmon on the floor, as well as shards from the mug. Where is my trusty vacuum?
Finally I get the girls in their beds and Manny is running up and down the hall laughing at his own physical comedy. The girls are watching him from their cribs like they are about to win big at the horse races. I feel like I should just extricate myself from the situation because they are having so much fun and anything I do just deters from their delight in one another. It is magnificent.
I instruct Manny to stick his face through the crib slats to kiss the girls like I have been doing. He pushes them instead, which Elena thinks is hilarious and they do this for a while with me saying, "Gentle. Gentle! Gentle!!"
Manny and I retreat to his room for a short burst of toothbrushing, lots of spittle and some quality time with the digger book from the library. At 7:30 I said goodnight and have been in my post-bedtime comatose state ever since. I should be doing my ironing which is on the floor of the family room closet. I know this because I step on it every time I turn on a DVD for Manny. How many times can you walk on your ironing before you need to wash it again?
A question for another day.